Thank you to everyone for your increased interest in the Nueces Bicycle Boulevard issue. As you all know, the businesses along Nueces were not notified of the plans to ‘calm’ traffic until late last year so we are certainly playing catch-up. Since we first launched the website and petition we have received incredible support vocally and financially, so we thought it was time to give an update to the hundreds of Austinites that have joined out list.
Since the last open house in February we have been researching as much as we can to find out the details and history of this project and how it got started without the approval of the businesses it will directly affect. Through the open records laws we have requested and reviewed the City’s documents regarding this project. What we have seen so far is very interesting. We have found what we believe to be some possible ethics violations, and are researching this further. It is also very clear that we did not receive all the City’s records, which is a violation of the law.
We have had an independent traffic engineering firm provide an objective review of the Traffic Impact Analysis who identified obvious omissions and holes that would be unacceptable to City Staff if submitted by a private developer and tell us the conclusion, “no appreciable change”, would be rejected as too general in nature and have to be specifically quantified. Particularly when it impacts a street grid 5 blocks wide and a mile and a quarter long.
We have also received the proposal from the group hired to do the economic impact review and it is unfortunate that the City has again given the consultant a narrow scope of work, and has specifically asked how the bicycle plan will potentially benefit the city, and not how a bicycle boulevard might adversely affect local business access. Their proposal states that “These analyses will describe the potential benefits and costs associated with excluding a historically vehicular corridor to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.” Their proposal also states “These types of studies are useful to support public policy, build awareness and community buy-in/goodwill, improve public relations, and provide content for executive speaking.”
The City has also updated their website with the following:
The staff recommendation for this project will come from all of these sources and will be posted on our website on April 6, 2010.
Also, in response to stakeholder input the City of Austin has decided to hire Angelo Economics to perform an economic impact study for the project.
The study will speak directly to this specific project and also to the overall economic effect of a complete bicycle network on the City of Austin. The study is expected to be complete by April 20, 2010.
City staff will present the final staff recommendation and the results of the 2nd Phase Traffic Study and Economic Study at Boards and Commissions and City Council at the following dates:
April 13 – Urban Transportation Commission, Briefing of Staff Recommendation
April 21 – Downtown Commission, Briefing and Possible Action on Staff Recommendation and Economic Study
April 26 – Design Commission, Briefing and Possible Action on Staff Recommendation and Economic Study
April 27 – Planning Commission, Briefing and Possible Action on Staff Recommendation and Economic Study
May 11 – Urban Transportation Commission, Briefing and Possible Action on Staff Recommendation and Economic Study
May 13 – City Council Briefing
Lastly, the vandalism has continued and has escalated to destruction of public property. This behavior has been caught on tape and turned over to APD and they are investigating. If this happens to your property, please make sure to contact APD and report it. If you need more signs, please email email@example.com and we will get more signs to you.
As we know more we will update, but please mark those dates on your calendar as it is very important that the City know how many of you are still opposed to this plan